Docker Setup on Linux and macOS

How To Set Up Docker Development Environment On Unix Based Operating Systems.


Docker is the de facto industry standard for packaging applications into a container. By doing so, all dependencies, such as the language run-times, operating system, and libraries are combined with the product.


This guide is for setting up the development environment with Docker. If you are looking for ARK Core Production ready Docker images, they are now available at Docker Hub , but are not meant to be used for development purposes.

Step 1: Clone Core Repository

Let’s clone our core repository and run the initial yarn setup command. We will also checkout the latest develop branch.

yarn setup command leverages Lerna to clean, bootstrap and build the core packages (including transpiling typescript). For mode information look into core’s package.json file in the root folder.

1git clone
2cd core
3git checkout develop
5yarn setup #run Lerna to clean, bootstrap and build the core packages

Step 2: Generate the Docker Configurations

ARK Core includes several Dockerfile and docker-compose.yml templates to ease development. They can be used to generate different configurations, depending on the network and token.

For instance, you could use this command (to be run from core root folder):

1yarn docker ark

This command creates a new directory (docker) that contains 1 folder per network. You can read more about generating of Docker configurations here.


Once your basic docker configurations are generated, you can select one of the two available approaches on how to best utilize the most fitting docker development setup.

In the next sections we will explain two approaches on how you can setup you development environment with docker:

  1. Run a PostgreSQL container while using NodeJS from your local environment
  2. Run a PostgreSQL container, build and run ARK-Core using a mounted volume

Approach 1: Containerize Only the Persistent Store

This approach runs a PostgreSQL container while using NodeJS from your local environment. This configuration is well suited when you are not developing ARK Core, but instead working with the API. By tearing down the PostgreSQL container, you reset the Nodes blockchain.


PostgreSQL is run in a separate container and its port gets mapped to your localhost, so you should NOT have PostgreSQL running locally.

1cd docker/development/$NETWORK # (NETWORK = testnet || devnet)
2docker-compose up postgres

To run the Postgres container in the background execute the following command:

1docker-compose up -d postgres

In case you need to start with a clean Database:

1docker-compose down -v
2docker-compose up -d postgres

Approach 2: Serve Core Node and Postgres as a Collection of Containers

This approach runs a PostgreSQL container, builds and runs ARK-Core using a mounted volume. When a container is built, all files are copied inside the container. It cannot interact with the host’s filesystem unless a directory is specifically mounted during container start. This configuration works well when developing ARK Core itself, as you do not need to rebuild the container to test your changes.


Along with PostgreSQL container, now you also have a NodeJS container which mounts your local ark-core git folder inside the container and installs all NPM prerequisites.

1cd docker/development/$NETWORK # (NETWORK = testnet || devnet)
1docker-compose up -d

Check if yarn setup is complete:

1docker logs ark-$NETWORK-core -f

You can now enter your ark-core container and use NodeJS in a Docker container (Linux environment).

1docker exec -it ark-$NETWORK-core bash

Start core using following commands:

1cd packages/core
3yarn full:testnet
5// or
7yarn relay:devnet

Need to start everything from scratch and make sure there are no remaining cached containers, images or volumes left? Just use the script.


Development files/presets are not Production ready. Official Production ARK-Core Docker images are now available at Docker Hub .

Start core and play with Public API

You can jump to Spinning Up Your First Testnet Section here and test your local Core Server, by following the link below:

Development - Launching a Testnet

Last updated 2 years ago
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